U.S. grains: Soy, wheat edge higher on fund buying ahead of USDA report

Chicago/Reuters – U.S. soybean, wheat and corn futures were slightly higher on Friday, boosted by light investment fund buying ahead of next week’s presidential election and U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly supply and demand data, traders said.

Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures fell sharply for the week, despite Friday’s modest gains, while wheat futures rose for the first time in three weeks. Traders were largely squaring their positions ahead of the U.S. election on Tuesday and USDA report due on Wednesday.

“The market is going nowhere fast,” EFG Group analyst Tom Fritz said.

Analysts polled by Reuters expected the USDA to raise its forecast for U.S. soybean production to a new record high and slightly reduce its outlook for U.S. corn output. Analysts also predicted the USDA would narrowly increase U.S. wheat ending stocks.

“Expectations for an upgrade to (already high) U.S. yields remain a handbrake on the market,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, referring to soybeans.

CBOT January soybean futures settled 1-1/4 cents higher at $9.90-3/4 per bushel, rebounding from Wednesday’s two-week low. Soy prices on a continuous chart eased 2 percent for the week, their largest weekly decline since August.

CBOT December corn settled 3/4 cent higher at $3.84-3/4 per bushel, also shedding about two per cent for the week.

CBOT December wheat finished 2-1/4 cents higher at $4.14-1/4, gaining 1.2 perc ent for the week.

Investment funds bought modest amounts of soybeans, corn, wheat and soymeal and were net sellers in soyoil futures, trade sources said.

“Corn traded both sides of unchanged in quiet fashion, without much news to move us,” ED&F Man Capital analyst Charlie Sernatinger said in a note to clients.

The dollar trimmed earlier gains against a basket of currencies, following monthly U.S. jobs data indicating a solid pace of hiring that analysts said could tip the Federal Reserve towards an interest rate rise in December, barring a contentious election result.

“Markets are now in a highly cautious mood before the uncertain U.S. election,” French consultancy Agritel said in a note.

Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore

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